I’d gladly ditch all my small appliances for the Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer
I’ve never owned a convection oven or a toaster oven before. I thought that the appliances I already had in my home could do all the same things — why would I buy a toaster oven when I have a toaster and an oven? But today, I’m here to say that I was wrong. And that I’ll never go back to the dark times (a.k.a. the pre-toaster-oven days).
The device that converted me is the Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer, which is basically the Ferrari of both air fryers and convection ovens. I can now make a half batch of cookies at record speed, cook a piece of chicken for lunch (normally, I’d never cook lunch), or air fry a crispy snack in minutes.
The sleek, minimal design looks great on any countertop.
Oh, and did I mention how good it looks in my kitchen? It’s so well-designed that it’s basically decor.
While the Smart Oven Air Fryer is expensive (grab one for $349.95 at Breville, Williams Sonoma, or Bed, Bath and Beyond or starting at $361.95 at Amazon) it has basically rendered my stove and oven useless. Why make a stew on the stove when I can put a small dutch oven into my convection oven? Why would I ever bake potatoes when I can air fry golden, homemade french fries in minutes? I’ve realized that quick, convenient cooking is made easier with a good convection oven, and this one comes with 11 different settings that make you feel like you’re a weeknight dinner superhero.
Is the Breville Smart Oven an air fryer?
For all intents and purposes, yes. Though it doesn’t look like a traditional air fryer with a pull-out basket, the Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer still acts as an air fryer. Air frying isn’t really frying at all, anyway — it’s just hot air circulating around your food via an internal heating element and a convection fan to get that golden, crispy texture. The shape of the air fryer doesn’t have much to do with how well it air fries, and since the Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer has an internal heating system, a convection fan (and a super convection setting) it’s a pretty darn good air fryer, among other things.
Frozen foods got crispy and golden with no added oil.
Credit: Jae Thomas
Since this is a larger air fryer, it will take slightly longer to preheat and cook foods than some of the compact basket-style air fryers, whose smaller size results in hotter, more condensed air and quick cooking. But overall, you’re looking at around five minute preheat times and cook times cut by nearly 30% in comparison to your conventional oven.
This convection oven comes with a whole slew of settings, 11 to be exact: Toast, bagel, bake, roast, pizza, cookies, reheat, warm, air fry, and slow cook. It also has two different convection speeds and a “frozen” option for cooking pre-made food. While there’s no dedicated “dehydrate” setting on this oven, the temperature goes as low as 120 degrees Fahrenheit, so there’s really no reason you wouldn’t be able to dehydrate in it. It also comes with an air fry basket, a broiling rack, a roasting tray, and a pizza pan.
You’re using your air fryer all wrong
Like the number of features, the instructions are also abundant — and by that we mean that they’re long. With over 20 pages of guidance for setup, use, and potential troubleshooting, this isn’t exactly an air fryer that you can pull out of the box and start using right away. It definitely takes some time to get a handle on each of the settings and figure out which option is best for the meal you’re making. During testing, there was a lot of setting and temperature experimentation, and we expect that unless you have a dedicated air fryer cookbook, it will take some playing around to get the desired results. That’s why we rated this oven a 3.5 in the “learning curve” department.
However, this oven is set apart from other air fryers and toaster ovens by its superb, even heating. It comes decked out with five different quartz heating elements situated both on top and on the bottom, and the smart Element IQ heating delivers on-the-dot temperature control.
This is a large capacity oven, so it would be best for families or folks who like to prep meals ahead of time. The 18.9 x 16.5 x 10.9 inch interior can easily fit six large slices of bread (like sourdough), a 13-inch pizza, a decently sized whole chicken, or a 9 x 9 casserole dish. It takes up about 18.5 x 13 inches on a countertop, but only requires four inches of clearance on two sides for proper air flow. While it’s by no means made for small spaces, it’s not a behemoth device that will commandeer all of your counter space.
The Smart Oven Air Fryer is about the size of a small microwave.
How to use the Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer
The Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer is controlled with three different knobs: one for function, one for time, and one for temperature, along with buttons to start/cancel, adjust convection speed (select no convection, convection or super convection!), and cook from frozen. These knobs move smoothly, and each setting change is shown on the LCD screen, which is a great upgrade for someone who is used to an air fryer with manual knobs and no screen. You’ll know exactly what temperature, time, and setting you’re working with. There’s also a “preheating” label on the screen as well as a backlight that shines either red or blue, depending on the status of the cooking cycle.
The red backlight lights up while the oven is cooking.
I noticed a slight chemical smell during the first run of the oven (Breville recommends running it empty for 20 minutes after unboxing), but to my delight, it was completely scent-free by the second use.
You might be skeptical and wondering if this expensive, bulky oven is actually going to replace the other small appliances in your kitchen. After testing, the answer is an unequivocal yes. The Element heating technology will make you want to toss the old toaster, toaster oven, and conventional oven out the window almost immediately. The toast and bagel setting yielded perfect, evenly heated bread, and it’s clear that there aren’t any hot spots in the oven.
You might be wondering if this oven will actually replace other small appliances in your kitchen … The answer is yes.
The warm setting will beat your microwave out at any head-to-head competition, too. While it might not be able to heat up a plate of pasta in a minute, you won’t be left with soggy, watery food. In fact, some of the things we reheated came out better than they were the day they were originally cooked.
The air fry setting
While the air fry setting is the loudest of all the settings, the sound isn’t disruptive — you’ll still be able to have a conversation or watch TV without getting a huge headache from the noise. The included air fry basket is great for crisping foods that are low in fat like vegetables or homemade french fries, but anything that has the potential to drip oil should be cooked in the roasting tray for easier cleanup.
In terms of performance, the air fry function is a solid 10/10. It was able to crisp everything we tested in it — even if there was no added oil — thanks to the super convection technology. Whether you’re a fried food lover, or just want to make some satisfyingly crunchy snacks, the air fry setting will be your new go-to.
Baking in the Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer
The convection setting gave this cake a beautiful caramelized sugar top.
Credit: Jae Thomas
Beyond just air frying, this Breville model is one of the most versatile convection ovens on the market, and part of the glory of a convection oven is using it to bake. While convection ovens preheat and cook faster than conventional ovens, they circulate heat more evenly and efficiently too, making them a baker’s best friend.
An air fryer fried chicken sandwich recipe that won’t leave you disappointed
During tests, the Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer baked a cake nearly 20 minutes faster than a conventional oven making the same cake, and it created a beautiful caramelized sugar crust on top of the cake. This isn’t a coincidence — using a convection oven is ideal for creating a dry baking atmosphere and allowing sugars to caramelize more quickly. That golden crust is a testament to how well the convection settings work in this oven.
Aside from baked goods, the Smart Oven Air Fryer also makes a mean entree. The roast setting in particular is fantastic for yielding tender, moist meat with crispy outer skin. A piece of salmon roasted for 15 minutes with the normal convection setting turned on came out similar to restaurant-quality salmon I’ve had in the past. It was buttery and flaky — and, of course, it had that crunchy, golden skin.
The roast setting is ideal for making tender meat and fish.
Credit: Jae thomas
How to clean the Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer
Both the interior and exterior of the oven can be wiped down with a damp cloth. Unfortunately, none of the included accessories are dishwasher-safe, so they’ll all need to be hand-washed. While the wire rack, broiling rack, and pizza pan are easy to wipe down, the air fry basket and roasting pan required more effort (and elbow grease) to get clean post-use.
It’s best to follow the recommendation of using the broiling rack nestled into the roasting pan when cooking any foods that might release oil or grease, as that will result in an easier clean up process. During testing, reheating fried chicken in the dedicated air fry basket resulted in oil dripping down to the heating elements and the crumb tray, which was difficult to clean.
Is the Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer worth it?
The Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer is worth it — but only if you want your air fryer to be your one and only in the kitchen. The 11 different functions make it extremely adaptable, but if you aren’t planning on baking, roasting, slow coking, or toasting in your air fryer, you’re better off with a simpler, cheaper air fryer that doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles.
For families or meal-preppers, the Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer makes a dinner routine way easier. It won’t heat up your home like a conventional oven, it promises to cook your meals up to 30% faster, and it offers enough versatility that you won’t need a separate toaster, slow cooker, air fryer, and pizza maker.